Should you invest in a BJJ dummy? How do you use one to improve your jiu-jitsu?
In this article, I’ll share everything you need to know about…
Let’s dive in.
What Is A BJJ Dummy?
A BJJ dummy is a type of grappling dummy. Basically, it’s a fake human for you to practice jiu-jitsu on.
Are they as good as a real human for training? No. But, they are a fantastic way to do extra training from the comfort of your home.
Most BJJ gyms have grappling dummies. If there’s an odd number of people at a BJJ class, the person without a training partner can use their dummy. Or, if the instructor is teaching a class virtually, they might demonstrate techniques on the dummy.
They’re most often found in jiu-jitsu gyms — but, if you’re a passionate hobbyist like me, you might want one for training BJJ at home.
If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re the type who might invest in a BJJ dummy for your home gym or apartment.
In my Grappling SMARTY 2.0 review — which I believe is the best grappling dummy for BJJ — I break down the type of BJJ player who would benefit the most from investing in a grappling dummy:
- Kinesthetic Learners: You learn best by feeling a technique, so having a dummy will help cement what you learn in class.
- Beginners (White & Blue Belts): You’re in your first few years of training, so practicing techniques on a dummy will help you memorize.
- Professionals: You’re a pro-BJJ player or MMA athlete, so you need to be able to train even when you don’t have a training partner.
- Injured Athletes: You’re dealing with an injury, so you want to be able to practice BJJ movements in a safe way.
- Instructors: You run a BJJ school, and having BJJ dummies is a must-have for your gym for you to demonstrate techniques (and provide to your students).
If you’re a hobbyist who trains casually a few times a week, then you probably don’t need a BJJ dummy for your home.
Grappling SMARTY Discount Code
Use code TSAVO5 at checkout to get 5% off your Grappling Smarty.
BJJ Dummy Buying Guide
Interested in buying a BJJ dummy?
First, consider your budget. Good BJJ dummies aren’t cheap. Expect to invest a few hundred dollars, especially if you want a high-quality dummy.
You can get a cheap dummy from Amazon for as little as $100 (unfiled).
Second, you’ll have to consider whether you want it pre-filled or unfilled.
An unfilled grappling dummy is less expensive, but you’ll have to deal with the hassle of filling it up. That means cutting up old clothes and filling it up yourself. I’ve heard from others that this takes a few hours.
Third, take a look at the different dummies on the market. For jiu-jitsu, you want a dummy that is in a realistic grappling position.
Many dummies come with their legs straightened out, and their arms straightened up, like this:
This might be useful for judo or striking, but for jiu-jitsu, you won’t be able to practice most techniques on this type of dummy. So, find a dummy that is in a grappling position like the SMARTY.
Fourth, consider what size dummy you want. The SMARTY comes in two sizes: the standard version (models a 5’7″ human) an XL version (models a 6’2″ human), and a kids version (models a 4’9″ human).
The larger you are, the bigger dummy you’ll want. The standard SMARTY works fine for me (I’m 6’1″).
Fifth, consider if you have enough space in your home or apartment. If you’re building a home gym, make sure you have some BJJ mats. That will make it much more comfortable when training with your dummy.
Once you’ve considered these factors, you’re ready to invest in your dummy (or SMARTY). Then, put on an instructional or YouTube video and start drilling!
The Best Grappling Dummy For BJJ
In my in-depth review of the SMARTY, I outline its pros:
- As Close To A Real Human As You Can Get: Unlike other grappling dummies, this one is built in a proper grappling stance. You can practice what you learn on instructionals while you’re watching it, helping you refine your game.
- You Can Drill Hundreds Of Moves: Because of its design, you can drill 80%+ of moves in jiu-jitsu on it: from submissions to sweeps. It has a chin, thumbs, and heels so you can practice the precise finishing mechanics of your techniques.
- Extremely Well-Constructed: Punch it, kick it, squeeze it, choke it, spit on it — whatever you’re into, the SMARTY can handle it. It’s built to last, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it lasts me decades of punishment.
The cons? Not many. I can imagine it would be a pain to fill — so, I recommend you get it pre-filled.
Check out the pricing for the SMARTY on their website.
You can also get the SMARTY 2.0 XL, which is modeled after a 6’2″ human instead of a 5’7″ one.
They even offer a SMARTY harness to hang your SMARTY in the air. Using the harness, you can takedowns, bottom open guard, and even striking.
Although it’s more expensive than other grappling dummies, the SMARTY is the best one I’ve used. It’s a great investment if you’re serious about your BJJ training.
How To Use Your BJJ Dummy
So, you’ve decided to invest in a BJJ dummy. How do you actually use it to improve your game?
Here are some creative ways to use your grappling dummy.
- Keep a BJJ journal, and write down the techniques that you’re learning in class. Then, when you get home, quickly review those techniques either that same night or the next day. This will help you retain what you’ve learned in class.
- Bring up a jiu-jitsu curriculum or a set of moves, and drill those moves on your dummy. This will help you learn techniques that you might not learn in your class, but that you’ve wanted to develop. This is how I advanced from a white belt to a blue belt.
- While you’re watching an instructional or a YouTube video, follow along with your grappling dummy. This is a much better way to leverage instructionals as opposed to trying to remember what you learn, and then apply it many hours later in class.
- If you’re injured, use your BJJ dummy as part of your rehab. Due to injuries, you might not feel comfortable drilling or sparring because you cannot predict a human training partner. A dummy stays still, so it’s predictable. Use your dummy to make sure you’re comfortable with certain movements before you do those movements with a real training partner. As someone dealing with a knee injury, having a BJJ dummy has been a huge part of my recovery.
A BJJ dummy can’t replace a real human. However, if you use your dummy to practice and refine your techniques, then it will carry over to open mats and competition.
There you have it: everything you want to know about BJJ grappling dummies.
What is your favorite BJJ dummy? How do you use it to improve your game?
Leave a comment in the section below and let me know.
I’m curious to know how other jiujiteiros are using their dummies (or, their SMARTYs).
Happy rolling. 🤙
Tsavo is the founder of BJJ Equipment and BJJ blue belt who started training in 2019. He’s a passionate hobbyist and BJJ gear/equipment aficionado who wanted to share his favorite pickups with other jiujiteiros. He launched BJJ Equipment in 2022 to make it easy for jiu-jitsu practitioners to find the best BJJ gear so they look, feel, and perform at their best on the mats.